CIVICUS

MonitorTracking civic space

Argentina

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Last updated on 22.02.2019 at 14:13

Overview

Despite limitations in the exercise of some civic space freedoms, which are particularly apparent at the local level, Argentine civil society is robust and highly visible and has played a positive role in recent legal reforms. The media is highly polarised, and stigmatising statements and criticism by public officials impede the healthy deliberation of public issues.

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Study reveals lack of equal opportunities for women journalists in Argentina

Study reveals lack of equal opportunities for women journalists in Argentina

According to a study,72 percent of women journalists believe that women have fewer opportunities for growth than men in media companies and 77 per cent believe that in journalism, women do not earn the same amount as men for doing the same job.

Peaceful Assembly and Expression

At the end of November 2018, thousands of protesters marched in Buenos Aires while the G20 summit  was held in Argentina. Demonstrators denounced the "G20's failure to adequately address a broad range of issues, including climate change, poverty and hunger". Protesters were prevented from reaching the convention centre where the leaders were meeting as authorities cordoned off the surrounding area, keeping demonstrations around five kilometres away from the event. 

The march was organised by a coalition of around 70 labour unions and rights groups, Confluencia Fuera G-20, which joined forces to call attention to a range of issues, from workers’ rights to climate change and their primary target of the protests was the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Around the time of the summit, public transportation was suspended and some areas blocked to "control traffic and crowds". Organisers highlighted that these measures made it harder to organise and attend the protest, especially for those demonstrators living outside the capital city. 

Daniel Catalano, trade union activist stated

"They won't talk about poverty. They won't talk about climate change, they won't talk about how to improve the quality of life. They're going to talk about how to divide the wealth of the majority and the wealth of nature."

On 20th December 2018, journalists and press workers of media outlets Radio Nacional, TV Pública and Télam agency organised a protest in front of Kirchner Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, to demand better wages. According to reports, the protesters were confronted by around 150 police officers who fired tear gas to disperse the protest. 

On a separate incident, the journalists' union Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA) denounced the governor of Puerto Iguazú, in Misiones Province, Claudio Filippa, who, according to reports, instructed his supporters to abuse the journalist, Norma Devecchi after she conducted an investigation into alleged corruption. 

The governor sent the audio after the journalist, who works for the media outlet El territorio de Posadas, published an article about an investigation of the Federal Administration of Public Revenues related to the use of false receipts by the Municipality of Puerto Iguazú. FOPEA called for a swift investigation into the incident.

In Argentina, according to a study released in November 2018 by Foro de Periodismo Argentino, 72% of women journalists believe that women have fewer opportunities for growth than men in media companies and 77% believe that women do not earn the same amount as men for doing the same job in journalism. The report also highlighted the lack of parity in senior positions as 71% of the respondents stated their manager is male.  

Among the main problems facing journalistic work in Argentina, low salaries, fear of losing their job, lack of resources and investment in the media outlet for quality journalism are the principal factors identified. Moreover, when it comes to problems facing women in particular, those surveyed included balancing family life and professional development, preferring men over women for career opportunities, and facing discrimination for being a woman, among others.

The survey was carried out between October and November 2018, and they received complete responses from 405 people at the national level.

Association

The right to create and operate civil society organisations is guaranteed in Argentina. NGOs, trade unions, grassroots organisations and advocacy groups are legally recognised, are robust and play a major role in society.

The right to create and operate civil society organisations is guaranteed in Argentina. NGOs, trade unions, grassroots organisations and advocacy groups are legally recognised, are robust and play a major role in society. Although they were not designed to hinder free association, legal and tax frameworks are outdated and do, in practice, make it hard for CSOs to operate effectively. Reform efforts have so far reached a dead end. There are no legal restrictions in place regarding access to international or private funding, although political criticism of CSOs linked to “imperialistic” donors abounds.


Peaceful Assembly

Peaceful protests are frequent in Argentina, and people are able to demonstrate mostly without constraint; no prior authorisation requirements are in place. However, a newly issued protocol on police action during demonstrations would allow the security forces to use firearms or rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

Peaceful protests are frequent in Argentina, and people are able to demonstrate mostly without constraint; no prior authorisation requirements are in place. However, a newly issued protocol on police action during demonstrations would allow the security forces to use firearms or rubber bullets to disperse crowds. Civil society organisations worry that this decision limits constitutional rights by placing “the unhindered movement of traffic above people’s physical integrity”, and they see a worrying trend towards the repression and criminalisation of social protest. At the local level, police repression has traditionally been more common, frequently targeting disadvantaged indigenous groups. Additionally, in August 2015 dozens of protesters were injured when local police used rubber bullets and batons against a largely peaceful demonstration voicing allegations of electoral fraud in the province of Tucumán.


Expression

Argentina is a relatively safe country for journalists, but there have been cases of harassment and political intimidation by provincial governments. In December 2013, Juan Pablo Suárez, a newspaper editor, was arrested and later accused of sedition and inciting collective violence under the highly criticized antiterrorism law.

Argentina is a relatively safe country for journalists, but there have been cases of harassment and political intimidation by provincial governments. In December 2013, Juan Pablo Suárez, a newspaper editor, was arrested and later accused of sedition and inciting collective violence under the highly criticized antiterrorism law. In another case, the home of radio journalist Sergio Hurtado was attacked by two armed men who warned him to stop reporting about drugs. Argentina lacks a federal access to information law. Reliable statistics have also been lacking for several years as a result of governmental manipulation.In 2009, Congress approved a law to regulate the broadcast media that includes provisions to increase plurality in the media. The legislation was heavily opposed by opposition political leaders and large media groups, arguing that the government in power would have too much influence over the media.